Guwahati: The flood situation in Assam continued to be grim with over half of its 27 districts inundated, 18 people killed and more than 17 lakh affected, officials said on Tuesday.

The situation is expected to improve in a couple of days.A total of 1,916 villages are reeling under 69 revenue circles in the districts of Baksa, Barpeta, Darrang, Dhemaji, Dibrugarh, Golaghat, Jorhat, Kamrup, Kamrup Metro, Lakhimpur, Morigaon, Nagaon, Nalbari, Sivsagar, Sonitpur and Tinsukia districts, according to the government report on Tuesday evening.

"Out of 27 districts of Assam, 16 are under the flood now. However, the situation has become steady now and we hope the situation will start improving in a day or two," State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) CEO Atul Chaturvedi told.

"The predictions of Central Water Commission (CWC) as well as the meteorological department also indicated an improvement in weather soon," he added. Officials at the SDMA control room said that 18 people have died so far due to the current wave of floods.

However, many more people are reported to be missing in the affected districts, they said. The worst affected is Majuli island - Asia's largest freshwater river island - with about 70 percent of its land area submerged. Thousands of people are living in relief camps set up by the district administration.

All the educational institutions in Majuli were closed down due to the floods. Sadia subdivision in Tinsukia town also bore the fury of the flood   forcing the administration to use Indian Air Force and army helicopters to air drop food materials for the affected people.

District administration officials said over 80 percent of the landmass in Sadia remained under water till on Tuesday. Over 3.84 lakh people have taken shelter at 279 camps set up by the districts administrations.

The Brahmaputra, Burhidehing, Subansiri, Dhansiri and the Jia Bharali rivers are flowing above the danger levels at many places. Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Monday directed the administration to use helicopters and mechanised boats to step up rescue and relief operations in the flood-hit state.

The National Disaster Response Force, the State Disaster Response Force, the army and the IAF are engaged in rescue and relief operations. Parts of National Highway 52, which connects Dhemaji in Assam to Arunachal Pradesh, has come under flood waters and there are fears of scarcity of food and other materials in the district.

Assam's main city Guwahati also came under threat of floods and many areas of Pandu and Adabari areas are submerged. Over 80 percent of the Kaziranga National Park remained under flood water and over 10 animals died in the park due to floods.

Poachers also took advantage of the floods and killed a one-horned rhino and managed to decamp with the horn. Although vast areas of Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary in Morigaon district and Dibru Choikhowa National Park in Tinsukia district also were submerged by floods, no animal death has been reported from there till Tuesday.

(Agencies)

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